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PHMC’s Response to COVID-19 Staying connected, committed and hopeful

PHMC is known for our commitment to the individuals, families and communities it serves. This page is designed to help all of us stay connected to our mission and to each other. Read updates on how our colleagues are continuing to serve the people who need us most, and notes of gratitude to those who are carrying the heaviest lift these days.

Tell us your story or share your appreciation. Email us at Communications@phmc.org.

“The patients we serve at Mary Howard have health needs but have equally important socio-economic and behavioral health issues that have to be addressed. We got the PersonLink client in right away to get him assessed for a physical. He was able to get stable housing as a result of the paperwork.”

Jay Durivage, CRNP, FNP-BC, Clinical Director, Mary Howard Health Center

“Our client in PersonLink needed a physical to get placement in permanent long-term housing, but with his primary care office closed, he could have faced homelessness without it. PHMC’s Mary Howard Health Center responded quickly and was able to see the client and provide all necessary paperwork to obtain housing.”

Mike Owens, Supports Coordinator, PersonLink

Kelly A. McSorley

AMP Court Evaluator/Case Manager, Forensic Services

For the participants I was able to outreach during this time, I have found that they are extremely thankful for the services I am providing them, even if it is a simple follow up phone call to see how they are doing. With the combined support, daily communication, and having a positive mindset, we will be able to serve our participants effectively during this pandemic.

“The Advocacy Institute has done our best to remain a haven for youth who are still looking to create sustainable change in Philadelphia. Our #RealTalkTobacco cohort has provided virtual space for youth participants to continue working to dismantle Big Tobacco, as well as share with one another how they are coping during this unprecedented time.”

Alison Davis, PA Youth First Project Coordinator, The Advocacy Institute, Health Promotion Council.

Michelle A Haines

M.S.N., R.N., C.P.R.P. C.I.C., Adult Shelter Nursing Supervisor

Every day presents different challenges in providing both appropriate nursing care decisions and interventions. I am forever grateful to an amazing team of nurses and extended colleagues who contribute to the overall good of a large community, intertwined in multiple service systems.

“Thanks to the coordination with our partners at the Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual DisAbilities, our participant was connected with a counseling program. … He has reported, “feeling good and normal.” It is a joy to speak to this participant when I reach out to him.”

Grisel Rivera, Case Manager, AMP Program, Forensic Intensive Recovery Services

In recognition of Teacher Appreciation Week May 4-8, Fairwold administration came “together” to thank the teachers for all that they do for the students each and every day. Thanks to all of our teachers at Fairwold Academy and the Mill Creek School for ensuring the continuity of education.

OUR ADMIN/INTAKE TEAM HAS BEEN WORKING TIRELESSLY TRYING TO KEEP THE PAPERWORK FLOWING FOR OUR FAMILIES. THEY HAVE BEEN VERY FLEXIBLE AND PATIENT AS THINGS WERE/ARE CHANGING SO QUICKLY. IT HAS NOT BEEN EASY FOR ANY OF US BUT THEY HAVE CONSISTENTLY RISEN TO THE CHALLENGES PLACED BEFORE THEM AND I AM VERY GRATEFUL FOR EACH OF THEM. THEY ARE ALL ROCK STARS!

Ruth M. Johnson, Admin Support Associate Supervisor, Turning Points for Children, Foster Care

Forensic Services – Intermediate Punishment Program

We have been able to continue our case management services to the participants in the FIR Opioid Use Disorder initiative. Four participants have transitioned from recovery residence or residential treatment providers into their own apartments. Those are major milestones! As we face new and unique challenges, our team continues to collaborate across the organization, stay connected and remain committed to our participants. (Pictured: Joaquin Serrano, Intermediate Punishment Program Peer Recovery Specialist, Forensic Services)

“I just wanted to drop a quick line to thank both of you. I find myself overcome with tears of joy. I had to express my gratitude. I have a super tough battle ahead but finally getting stable housing has removed a ton of stress.”

A participant thanks her program managers from PHMC’s First Foundations and CoC Rapid Re-housing Program

Bill Welsh, Clinical Lead

CORE Program, the Center for Autism

Families and therapists alike have demonstrated their flexibility and their resiliency during this difficult time by making every effort to attend virtual individual and group sessions. We recently hosted three clients and their families to make sunshine sensory bottles and we’re looking forward to many more exciting sessions together!

Jordan Brewer, AMP

Evaluator/Case Manager, Forensic Services

Since my first call with a participant during the pandemic, it was clear that he was thrilled to be able to tell me that he is doing well, loves treatment and feels like it’s really helping. He now calls ME almost every morning to check in and let me know he’s doing OK. He is so proud and I think it’s awesome that he feels so supported. I am so glad that I have the type of position that can be that support for him.

“They have been a total game changer for these families that are going through such a difficult time. … These workers are consistently a stable voice that enters the home each day virtually to increase self-motivation and adaptability.”

Shari Adler, Licensed Behavioral Specialist, PHMC Behavioral Health Rehabilitation Services, sends a shout-out to co-workers Alfred Fields and LaTasha Boateng.

Ilene Cooper

Family Shelter Supervisor

We are working to educate the families in our shelters with the recommended safety regulations. We keep our emotions under control to eliminate any fear, especially when children become positive for COVID-19 in a shelter. Working with the families and protecting them from health issues keeps me positive.

I have been very grateful for their continued commitment in serving our most vulnerable people experiencing homelessness. Their tireless efforts have enabled our shelters to continue to provide shelter and services with an emphasis on keeping people safe through this challenging time.

Fred Gigliotti, Director of Emergency and Temporary Housing, Office of Homeless Services, speaks about PHMC Shelter Nursing Staff

Shirley K. Robinson

Director of Housing and Social Services, HELP Philadelphia

I’m so moved by one very compassionate staff person who worked tirelessly with her mother and 93-year-old grandmother to make 70 masks for the mothers and children that we serve at the Transitional Housing Facility in West Philadelphia. A true testament to the commitment of serving others and the giving hearts of three generations.

“Our staff began diligent and aggressive contact with their participants to submit referrals for resume workshops. … we were able to refer eligible candidates for a phone interview, which resulted in four participants getting full-time positions!”

Devon Lassiter, Program Manager, PHMC First Foundations

Yvonne Andrews

Project FAM, Lead facilitator, Turning Points for Children

It was truly a team effort to set up our first virtual group. Our families participating in the virtual sessions are receiving parenting information and resources they need. We also initiated a support text messaging service for families so they can continue to support each other and stay connected. While we are in crisis mode, our department continues to adhere to the mission of the agency. For this I am proud to be a part of this organization; and even more proud to share our success.

Deahna Byrd-Taylor

Support Coordinator, PersonLink

Staying connected to my co-workers is essential in making me feel that I am still a part of something great during this time of uncertainty, we are still making a difference. After I close my laptop for the day, I love that I can go straight to spending time with my family. We are staying home and staying safe!

“I had a participant who was struggling with drugs and was addicted to cocaine. He entered the AMP program in January and after two months of sobriety, he’s been able to get an apartment and a job, and is currently attending treatment and is maintaining sobriety.

Martha Molina, Case Manager, AMP Program, Forensic Intensive Recovery Services

Savuol Ngo, CRPN

Nurse Practitioner, Serenity Court

One of my best friend’s mother who is a retired seamstress made these beautiful masks to wear over my surgical mask when I see patients through PHMC’s Homeless Medical Respite program. I am filled with so much appreciation and gratitude. I have shared them with my nurse friends that work throughout Philadelphia and of course, our Respite Nurses and Certified Nursing Assistants here. The amount of love and support we all are showing each other is exceptional.

I have been working with a participant that often does very well and then will fall off. However, during this stressful time of COVID-19, he has been resilient. He has been staying in touch with me on a weekly basis and did well advocating for himself … During a time like this he has been using his coping skills and showing himself what he is capable of achieving.”

Kate Hartman, Case Manager, AMP Program, Forensic Intensive Recovery Services

Asha George

Treatment Court Case Management Supervisor/ Forensic Services

It is critical at this time that I remain in frequent communication with staff, participants, legal partners, providers, family and friends. I continue to remind myself that anxiety is real, and I must allow myself to feel whatever emotion I’m experiencing, but not allow myself to wallow in it. Be grateful for the things that are going well in my life, don’t over think, exercise, eat balanced and get enough sleep. These are unprecedented times that require unprecedented effort from all of us.

“I want to give a huge shout out to our amazing training department team. They worked tirelessly into the evenings and over the weekends to ramp up for online trainings for parents; everyone is rolling with the changes and is being positive and supportive.”

Leigh Braden, MSW, Training Supervisor & Curriculum Development, Turning Points for Children

Rodolfo Fernandez

Specialty Courts Clinical Supervisor/ Forensic Services

With the support of my director, I was able to develop a Telephonic Evaluation Plan which is helping all six of our evaluators complete assessments via telephone. We are able to conduct the evaluation in real-time, obtain funding approval, and refer the participant to the appropriate treatment program.

Having a positive mindset and doing things such as having meaningful time with family members, staying away from the news, and focusing on my work have definitely helped me stay positive.

Pearlie Byrd

Treatment Court Case Manager/Forensic Services

Remembering that we want to make all coordination and transitions as seamless as possible for our participants is more important. Whether it’s making a committed effort to helping a participant avoid homelessness, while establishing inpatient care or just being a listening ear – it’s critical to remember the participants we serve are not a service, but people. Fortunately, our team was an interactive group before this pandemic and remain active with each other throughout. We rely on each other as much as our participants rely on us.

Angela Bolling

Lead Rapid-Rehousing Specialist

In efforts to continue providing my participants and landlords with the highest quality of service, I ensure that I am available via phone, email and text should they have any issues or concerns. In addition to providing positive reinforcement, I felt it was important to provide my participants with health and safety tips and food distribution information to help them protect themselves and their families as we work together to get through the Covid-19 pandemic.

I have been relying on my faith in God, family, friends and my co-workers to help me stay positive and motivated to do my best despite the circumstances.

Devon Lassiter

Program Manager, Rapid Re Housing/ Community Engagement

PHMC's First Foundation, CoC and Come Home Rapid Re-Housing Program's Team has been finding creative ways to ensure housing participants remain enrolled in these programs.

We have also used this opportunity to help participants by completing on-line resume workshops to help boost client morale. Team members have shared stories of clients becoming encouraged and excited by how good they can look on paper!

Keli McLoyd, Director

Philadelphia Coalition on Children and Opioids, Turning Points for Children; Addiction Policy Analyst, Research & Evaluation Group

I am very lucky that my work can be done remotely, and I think a lot about our front lines folks that are out there bravely serving our clients. I love to sew so I thought it would be helpful to make masks. So far, I’ve made and given away more than 60 masks, some of which have gone to Pathways to Recovery and Turning Points for Children staff.

Mary Kremer, CPS, CFPS, CHW

Certified Peer/Recovery Specialist

The Center of Excellence (COE) Community Based Care Managers and Peer Recovery Specialists have been calling every patient. We are completing initial MAT intakes and complete GPRA surveys. The team is working to make sure all MAT patients receive a telehealth follow-up appointment and have access to a pharmacy close to home that carries Suboxone.

Susan Moylan

Keystone STARS Program Manager, Early Learning Resource Center Region 19

As the quality improvement team at Early Learning Resource Center (ELRC) Region 19, we typically support child care providers, but in light of the current situation we have pivoted our focus to include robust supports for families. We send daily newsletters to encourage learning at home, share resources, and support families in mindfulness and self-care practices. We are thankful to be part of PHMC with its many programs, technology and broad reach. Thank you for being our champion through this tough time.

Aman Singh

Clinical Supervisor for FIR

My team and I continue to work to ensure participants in the FIR program are connected to substance use treatment. We have adapted to staying connected virtually, and during these uncertain times, I am using this moment to work on becoming a better version of myself. I am realizing how important this is and it will help me to serve others

Sabrina Thigpen, MHS

Program Director for the Community Based Outreach Project, New Pathways Project

I am inspired by the unwavering commitment to engage, recruit and link participants to services shown by New Pathways Project Recovery Support Specialist Shinnell Stewart as she provides critically needed community-based services for substance-involved individuals who live in Philadelphia. Despite this unknown and unprecedent pandemic, Shinnell continues to provide services to New Pathways Project members through street level outreach in areas with high drug use and trafficking activity while safely practicing self-distancing.

Sheldon Martin

Career and Education Services Coordinator

Maria Morrone

HHA Connector

Melissa Novoa

HHA Connector

Helping propel the human spirit was the goal of the HHA team coming together. Through our efforts, we continue to help participants build resumes, conduct mock interviews, and search for job placements and other employment-related services. We recently supported a virtual job fair and actively prepared participants by leading multiple Zoom meetings, mock interviews, resume updates, phone calls, emails, and text messages.

After participating in the virtual job fair, participant Cyndi had a follow-up phone interview the next day as a direct result. She said she felt so much joy after connecting with employers especially after being out of work for several years.

LaToshia DeVose

ECE Business Development Director

I am doing my part by working with our project team, partners and consultants to shift our services offered to critical business stabilizing activities and resources for our vast network of early childhood. We’re also seeing one another’s loved ones and pets more than often, it’s nice to see each other’s children peek into the meetings from time-to-time. I am staying positive by going for walks in my local park, checking in with families and friends, sharing recipes, wellness tips, encouraging words and MEMES.

Devynn Gray

Intake, Prevention, and Community Outreach Coordinator, JJPI

Though I do not have much contact with our participants, I am doing my best to ensure that programs and processes are continuing amidst this change. Our team has been working to ensure that all of our participants feel heard, cared for, and supported during this crisis.

JJPI’s morale team started an email thread in which we share our workspaces and how we have adapted to our new working environments…

Alex Peters

Research Coordinator, Research and Evaluation Group

In order to make sure the individuals and communities I help serve are protected and informed, I have been staying engaged with my Community Advisory Board members. I have been helping to update protocols to reflect the COVID-19 pandemic response across various projects in order to transition smoothly to more remote/virtual work.

I have been focusing on my mental health, staying active, and keeping a schedule to get me through the day. Surprisingly, having a routine has helped the days go by faster.

Katiuschka Nunez, Physician

Luz Vazquez, Medical Assistant

Judith Emmons, Health Center Administrator

Sumanya Narra, Physician’s Assistant

Congreso Health Center

The Congreso Health Center has done COVID-19 testing on site for high-risk symptomatic patients, using a lean model of an outdoor testing tent. Congreso’s RNs have been triaging Spanish speaking COVID-19 symptomatic patients for the network and supporting these patients with comfort measures and recognizing symptoms that may require further evaluation.

Dr. Katiuschka Nunez and PA Sumanya Narra have been the designated testers and assigned providers to working with Congreso’s COVID-19 patients, and have taken this new duty in stride, with pride. They are making patients feel comfortable and supported, while getting them the care that they need during this difficult time. Additionally, Luz Vazquez, Ryan White Medical Assistant, has been using her platform and voice to spread much-needed information to our most vulnerable population – those who are living with HIV/AIDS, and who also may be experiencing homelessness and/or substance use challenges. Luz has been going above and beyond to safety plan with patients.

Our team has stayed positive by supporting each other with challenges as they arise, having a healthy sense of humor and making A LOT of jokes during the day, and sharing words of encouragement and compliments for a job well done with each other. It has felt like our team has grown stronger in how we communicate and support each other during this time, as well as understanding each other on a more personal level. It has also been encouraging to see how our team has been so resilient, adaptable to so many changes, and willing to go above and beyond to support our patients during this challenging time.

Rob Baum, MSW, LSW

Behavioral Health Assessor, Home Health Assessment Program

As our program transitioned to video conferencing, I feared that being unable to see clients in person would harm the therapeutic relationship. To my pleasant surprise, this has not happened as I find myself in a similar place with our clients. We are all at home, afraid for our loved ones, worried about the economy and living in a way we never imagined. As I conduct video behavioral health assessments, there is a real solidarity with our clients and I have found that the emotional distance between us has shrunk.

I AM IN AWE OF YOU AND THE WORK THAT YOU DO. YOU ARE AMAZING HELPING OTHERS AT A TIME LIKE THIS. IT DOES NOT GO UnNOTICED! PLEASE KNOW THAT I AM THINKING OF YOU AND PRAYING FOR YOUR MENTAL AND PHYSICAL HEALTH AS WELL AS YOUR SAFETY. THANKS FOR FIGHTING THE GOOD FIGHT!

Carolyn Cohen, IT Coordinator, Information Technology

Carolyn Cohen

IT Coordinator, Information Technology

I am doing my part by reading my emails at night to make sure that there are no emergencies with IT related services that I can assist with. If there is an emergency IT related service that needs to be created, doing whatever I can to escalate it.

I am trying to stay positive by using humor and sharing positive messages.

Mike Sullivan

Senior Accountant, Finance

My personal goal is to do whatever I can to make things safer for my colleagues in the field, while also maintaining the standards that the Finance Department needs to meet to ensure our funders and auditors are happy.

Thank you for your tireless commitment to the communities that we serve - I do not take lightly the responsibility that has been placed upon you, and I admire the compassion you show through it all.

Debra Snyder, Director, Communications

Peter Wisz

Expense Contract Manager, Finance

The wide-scale implementation of available technologies has been impressive, especially from many folks who have been forced to leave their comfort zones. We see you, great job!

YOU ARE APPRECIATED … YOUR SUPPORT AND CONTINUED COMMITMENT TO OUR CLIENTS/FAMILIES IS WHAT MAKES PHMC SUCCESSFUL.

Gertrude Scutt, Senior HR Business Partner, Human Resources

Kathleen Graham

CRNP, PHMC Health Connection

Our number one concern is keeping our patients healthy and safe while meeting their current and ongoing health care needs. We have transformed our in-person visits swiftly over to both telephone and video calls for both medical and behavioral health visits. Our staff is constantly reaching out to patients each day to schedule them for visits and make sure their current needs are met.

Our patients provide us with a great amount of joy and positivity- without our great community there wouldn’t be a reason to come to work!

Saundra McCray

Health Center Administrator PHMC Health Connection

Knowing that I am helping in such a tremendously difficult time is the fuel that keeps me coming back every day. Aside from work, I keep believing and visualizing better days, better days are coming for us all.

ONE DAY THESE CRAZY TIMES WILL SUBSIDE AND OUR LIVES WILL BECOME LESS COMPLICATED, BUT YOU WILL CONTINUE TO HAVE THE RESPECT AND SUPPORT AS YOU SACRIFICE TO MAKE THIS AREA A BETTER PLACE FOR ALL OF US.

Mike Sullivan, Senior Accountant, Finance

Malik Leftwich

Medical Assistant, PHMC Health Connection

I always think of my patient as my own family and how I would want them to be handled in any situation. I keep a positive attitude by trusting that everything happens for a reason and like any storm, this too will pass.

Claudia Martinez

Medical Assistant, PHMC Health Connection

I try to set and release positive intentions for all people, and all outcomes. In times like this I try to think positive and tell myself we can get through this, we have to fight and be strong during these uncertain circumstances.

Yvette Rouse

Director, Forensic Clinical Services

I am happy to be supporting my team by having Move it Mondays. We check in on each other mentally and emotionally via zoom or teams as well as the workflow. We welcome family members and pets to join us as well.

“While some of us are able to perform our duties remotely, it’s the individuals who are on the front lines, providing direct care and coordination who are the true embodiment of PHMC’s mission to build healthier communities. Thank you for all that you do! Please stay safe!”

Peter Wisz, Expense Contract Manager, Finance

Michelle D. Hutchings, MSW

Director of Case Management and Rapid Re-Housing Services/ Community Engagement

I am often on the front lines to provide assistance in Emergency Housing where our most vulnerable participants reside. I am honored to work with such a remarkable group of individuals who continue to put our participants first.

We have developed a remote buddy system. Remote buddies check in with each other daily and share ways to cope, vent, uplift each other, etc. We meet once a week via Zoom and come up with creative games that focus on team building and innovative ways to serve our participants during these uncertain times.

Thank you to all PHMC employees for your continued commitment to our communities!

Share your story! communications@phmc.org